Planning to build a WordPress link directory? Do it the easiest way! Check out this tutorial and learn how to make a link directory in WordPress.
Links are at the center of our web experience. We reach websites via links. Sometimes we struggle to find the right link. It may take a lot of time to discover the intended link via search.
But we’re lucky because there are some link directories. They offer organized and tailored links to necessary websites.
You may have seen phone directories before. These are familiar for providing phone numbers. Link directories are specialized for website addresses. Visitors discover their desired sites on link directories.
You can think of a link directory as a public web address book or link library.
Having a link directory will benefit you in 2 ways. First, you’ll feel great for helping people with information. Second, a link directory can be a good source of revenue as well. You can offer paid listing opportunities to businesses and earn revenue.
Plus, there are other money-making potentials like advertising, featured links, promoting via blogs, etc. But first of all, you need to have a link listings site. In this post, we’ll see how to create a link directory in WordPress.
Best tools to create a WordPress link directory
We need just 2 tools to make our WordPress link directory. One you can already guess. And the other is a plugin. Here’s the list.
- A live WordPress site
- Business Directory Plugin
We need a live WordPress site for an obvious reason. We’re using WordPress as our website platform for this tutorial.
Business Directory Plugin is the best WordPress directory plugin. It can be used to build any type of directory site you can imagine. Here we'll use it as our WordPress link directory plugin. The plugin has both free and paid versions. We’re going to use a premium plan for this tutorial.
What to include in a WordPress link directory
Visitors will expect useful web addresses from your link directory. So, presenting the links in a user-friendly way would be the main goal.
But again, a link listing site should not just display some URLs. We need to make them easy to explore and navigate. There must be a good search and filtering system. Additional content like phone numbers, email addresses, even physical addresses may come in handy in some cases.
Here’s our quick list of what to present on a WordPress link directory.
- Listing title
- Listing web address (link)
- Description for the listing
- Listing image(s)
- More if you want
How to make a WordPress link directory
To get started with the core tutorial, we need a live WordPress site. We hope you know how to get a fresh WordPress website up and running. If you need assistance, please contact our recommended WordPress hosting service providers.
Got your WordPress site live? Then let’s follow the steps below to build our WordPress link directory website.
Step 1: Install and activate Business Directory Plugin
It all starts with getting Business Directory Plugin on the site. Visit our pricing page and choose a premium plan. We have several paid membership options available. You can choose whichever you think suits your needs.
Do you have some previous experience with WordPress? “Yes”? Then it’s going to take only a few minutes.
If you’re new to WordPress, no worries. Learn details on how to install Business Directory Plugin from our docs.
Step 2: Create necessary link directory pages
Our link directory will have a few core pages to display content. We’ll need to create 2 of them. The rest will be generated dynamically.
Here’s our checklist to create the link directory pages.
- The main directory archive page
- The list submission page
Creating the main archive page: This is the home page of your directory. It contains a search bar followed by the directory categories. This page can be created after activating the Business Directory plugin on your site. You’ll get an admin panel prompt for this.
It’s a standard WordPress page. It has the [businessdirectory] shortcode inside. This shortcode brings the directory content on the front-end.
By default, this page will get “Business Directory” as the title. Let’s rename it to something relevant. We can access our main directory archive page from WordPress Dashboard → Pages.
We’ve changed the page title to Link Directory. This page can be set up as the homepage of the directory. To do so, go to Appearance → Customize → Homepage Settings → Your homepage displays. Select A static page.
Choose the Link Directory page from the dropdown. Click the Publish button to save changes.
Adding the list submission page: Business Directory Plugin lets you create a front-end list submission page with its shortcode. This page can be shared and linked from anywhere.
To create the front-end directory submission page, go to Dashboard → Pages → Add New. Create a new page with the [businessdirectory-submit-listing] shortcode at the top. You’ve just got the front-end listing submission page!
Business Directory Plugin has several shortcodes. You can use them on any WordPress page or post. Then, as the website owner or manager, you can track their organic, paid, or social media performance via Google Analytics.
Step 3: Customize the form fields
You get 10 form fields ready to use in Business Directory Plugin. You can edit or remove them if you want. Also, new form fields can be added.
We’ll edit the existing form fields. Our final form fields will include the following:
- Listing name
- Website link
- Short description
- Email address
Visit Directory → Form Fields to manage the form fields. You can change the sequence of the form fields on this page. This ordering will be used on the submit listing form as well.
We’ll show the following fields on directory archive pages.
- Listing name
- Website link
- Short description
On the single list pages (details), we’ll hide the short descriptions. Rather, let’s display the main description text on the detail listing pages.
While editing any field, you’ll get the option to show/hide them on listing archives and details.
For the website link filed, we’ll select the Field Type as “URL Field”. This will render the output link as a clickable link.
Making the link clickable will improve the user experience of our WordPress link directory.
Step 4: Set up the WordPress link directory plugin
Now we’ve got to configure the directory system. This will make the listings site behave the way we need.
Customize the submission system: As a public directory, we’ll allow the visitors to submit link listings. To ensure quality, we want to moderate the items submitted by the users.
Go to Directory → Settings → Listings to set this up.
Choose “Pending” as the default new post status and edit post status. You can also set up email notifications for the new submission event.
Set up payments and fee plans: As we’ve mentioned earlier, a link directory can generate money by offering paid listing opportunities.
To support paid listings on our link directory, we need to set up payment methods and pricing plans.
You can manage the pricing plans (called fee plans in the plugin) from Directory → Fee Plans. A default free fee plan is built-in.
You can add new paid plans from this fee plan management page.
To make the paid fee plans effective, we need to activate the payments.
Go to Directory → Settings → Payment and add a payment gateway. Authorize.net is given by default. But you can use PayPal, Stripe, and more via our modules.
Don’t forget to check out our payment documentation to learn every detail on setting up payments.
Step 5: Styling the link directory
The purpose of our link directory is to present web links. We want to do it the right way. Let’s keep it clean and easy to scan. Business Directory Plugin has a table layout for this.
Visit Directory → Settings → Appearance. You’ll get 3 layout options there. Select the table layout and save changes.
As the main theme of the WordPress site, we’ve used Twenty Nineteen. It’s a default WordPress theme. We’ll see the output later in this post.
Step 6: Add link directory categories
Directory categories are very useful to organize the listing items in groups. They make your listings site easy to explore.
Business Directory Plugin offers an easy-to-manage category system. Just visit Directory → Directory Categories.
You can add and edit listing categories and subcategories there.
Step 7: Add link listing items
Our WordPress link directory is now ready to add listings. We can publish directory items from the back-end and front-end.
Remember the list submission page we’ve created in the 2nd step? We’ll use that to add new listings because the front-end form is cleaner and more user-friendly.
The link directory may not be limited to just some titles, links, and texts. You can add additional details like email addresses and physical addresses as well.
These will add extra value to your listing items. You can offer some of these data fields for premium listings too.
So, that’s how we can create a WordPress link directory website. We’ve used Business Directory Plugin, the best WordPress directory plugin.
For the front-end listing archive view, we’re using Business Directory Plugin’s table layout. And again, the main theme on our site is Twenty Nineteen. Now, let’s check out the output.
Below is a screenshot of our WordPress link directory’s listing archive view.
Here, a visitor can click the item name to find detailed information about the listing.
Or, they can simply visit the site of the entity from the website column. The short description column provides some additional information.
We’ve presented a single link listing view below.
To create a directory, you don't need to be a web design expert. Our Business Directory Pro version is good for such a feature-rich link directory. However, the higher the plan is the better.
Business Directory Plugin brings many advanced features like ratings & reviews, Google Maps integration, claim listings, etc. You can enrich your link directory experience using them. Explore the full feature list and realize its potential!
Learn More: How to Create a WordPress Blog Directory
A link directory can be a great help to the community to discover useful site links. At the same time, it can earn you a living. We believe you’ve found this tutorial easy to follow. Best of luck with your WordPress link directory project!
Business Directory Plugin comes with a 14-day money-back guarantee for all of its premium plans. Get Business Directory Plugin now and launch your link directory today!